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Wage & Hour Lawyers

Wage theft is the most common form of theft in the United States, which accounts for roughly $15 billion in losses every single year. Unfortunately, state authorities in Ohio have few tools for combating violations of wage and hour law, due to both a lack of funding and manpower to investigate discrepancies.

Companies cut corners and take advantage of any opportunity to help their bottom line, even denying their employees a fair living wage. Low-wage workers are hit the hardest, especially where large employers deprive susceptible employees of the information necessary to protect their rights. According to Professional Liability Underwriting Society, “Federal wage and hour lawsuits filed nationally have increased more than 400% since 2000.”

We know you might be scared and confused about what to do if you’ve been wronged by your employer. From the very first moment you pick up the phone and call us, our team will guide you through the process and take care of everything needed to file your lawsuit and do everything in our power to help you get the maximum compensation you are entitled to. There is NO FEE until we WIN. We can also arrange evening and weekend appointments, and we can come to you. So let us learn about your situation and help you understand your best options when you call us now!

The Basics of Wage and Hour Law

The basic framework for all wage and hour laws in the country comes from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938. This piece of legislation established numerous minimum requirements that all employers must adhere to, including the national minimum wage, the requirement to pay time-and-a-half for all hours in excess of 40 worked per week.

Chapter 4111 of the Ohio Revised Code covers much of the same ground that the FLSA does and adds a few additional protections for workers as well. The Ohio Wage Act sets the minimum hourly wage at ($8.80 or $8.70) for non-tipped workers and $4.40 for tipped workers. This represents a slight increase over the current federal minimum wages, which are $7.25 per hour and $2.13 per hour respectively for non-tipped workers and workers receiving at least $30 in tips per month.

Worker Misclassification

Misclassification of workers is a very common violation of worker’s wage and hour rights. Employers misclassify their employees as independent contractors to save on employment taxes and the cost of benefits. This happens at all kinds of firms from retail to technology businesses, to professional services, to food service, and to car dealerships. Thus, when a worker is misclassified they can lose out on money directly – through unpaid working time, or less directly – through lack of benefits and higher tax responsibility. An individual’s status as an employee versus independent contractor turns on factors such as:

Off-the-Clock Work

Employers often require employees to work without any payment. Time spent at the beginning and end of a shift doing work must be paid, usually even when the activity is preliminary or postliminary to an employee’s usual job duties. Simply put, you are entitled to compensation for all hours worked. It is usually a violation of federal and state wage and hour law if you are asked to “work off-the-clock,” or stay late to finish a task without being paid.

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Wage & Hour Violations Against Commissioned Employees

A variety of sales jobs are paid primarily through commissions. Commissioned-based pay arrangements are frequently the cause of minimum wage and overtime pay problems. Employers may only pay commissions to employees when a sale is made, which can result in employees not receiving minimum wages for each pay period.

The employer may fail to pay the overtime premium of “time-and-a-half” to commissioned employees, which is only permitted where (1) the employer is a retail or service establishment, (2) the employee’s regular rate of pay is one and one-half times the minimum wage for every hour worked in a workweek, and (3) more than half the employee’s total earnings in a representative period consist of commissions. All too often, our attorneys see careless or greedy employers which have implemented policies of refusing to pay commissioned employees’ overtime. Such policies frequently run afoul of these strict rules, entitling affected employees to compensation.

Are Commissioned Employees Entitled to Minimum Wage & Overtime Pay?

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Improper Deductions from Salary or Refusal of Overtime Pay for Salaried Employees

Many employers believe that they can work their employees to death without extra pay by simply placing the employee on a salary. Fortunately for these overworked folks, salaried employees are protected under federal and state wage and hour law. For instance, while various overtime exemptions are available to employers by paying employees with a salary, salaried employees are often still entitled to overtime pay. If you have a question as to whether your employer is permitted to refuse to pay you by paying you a salary, contact us today.

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Salary-Based Exemptions

Salaried employees are outright exempt from overtime pay if they (1) are paid at least ($455 or $684 per week), and (2) are executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and/or computer sales employees. If both of these factors are not met, the affected employee is entitled to compensation for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

This salary-basis exemption is often abused by employers in one of two contexts. First, the employer may dock the employee’s salary for reasons like lack of work or dissatisfaction with the work product. If the employee is ready, willing and able to work, deductions may not be made for time when work is not available. A salary also may not be docked for perceived poor work product unless as a penalty imposed in good faith for infractions of safety rules of major significance. If improper deductions are taken from a salaried employee’s pay, the employer may lose the benefit of the exemption, entitling affected employees to compensation.

The second context in which this arises is through the misclassification of employees as exempt executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and/or computer sales employees. Each of job types are legal terms of art, meaning that only those employees which fall strictly under the definition of one of these exempt groups can be denied overtime pay.

Class Action Lawsuits For Multiple Victims Of Wage & Hour Violations

In many instances, when an employer violates minimum wage and overtime pay laws, all or most employees are affected. A class action lawsuit can be brought when multiple employees experience similar pay violations and bring the case as a single court case. The Automatic Data Processing (ADP) Research Institute reviewed court data and reported that “90 percent of all state and federal court employment law class actions filed in the U.S. were wage and hour claims.” The data also suggests that more than 70 percent of employers are not fully complying to FLSA regulations.